Browns build, dedicate playground

Posted Oct 24, 2012

The Browns partnered with the United Way to build and dedicate a new playground at the Phillis Wheatley Association in Cleveland on Tuesday.

The Cleveland Browns are committed to improving the Cleveland community and did so by building and dedicating a new playground at the Phillis Wheatley Association of Cleveland this past Tuesday.

The playground at the Phillis Wheatley Association of Cleveland was part of the team’s 14th annual Hometown Huddle partnership with the United Way of Greater Cleveland.

“As soon as we came here, we saw a playground structure that was very outdated and through this project, it was replaced by a beautiful structure,” said Renee Harvey, vice president of community outreach for the Browns. “The work that’s done here at Phillis Wheatley speaks to a lot of positive things that are taking place in Greater Cleveland.”

Several players participated in the build, including wide receivers Joshua Cribbs and Travis Benjamin, offensive lineman Ryan Miller, tight ends Alex Smith and Jordan Cameron, fullback Owen Marecic, defensive linemen Frostee Rucker, John Hughes and Jabaal Sheard, linebacker Craig Robertson, defensive back Eric Hagg, practice squad defensive lineman Ronnie Cameron and practice squad wide receiver Rod Windsor.

Former Browns Frank Stams, John Thierry, Ernie Kellermann, Al Jenkins and Tom Cousineau also participated in the build.

“The players always come out to support many initiatives in the community and this is a great way to get them acclimated not only with the Greater Cleveland area, but also their community and the importance of the role that they have and that can be done given their position,” Harvey said. “It’s great to have them out there to support us and they really enjoy themselves when they’re out here. We always get more out of it than we give.”

With the help of more than 100 volunteers, the playground included a wave slide, double slide, ramp climber, rock wall climber and was designed to give Cleveland-area children a safe place to play. The playground also has an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) friendly transfer station with step and handholds, a stepping pod and balance beam.

The volunteers came from the Browns’ organization, alumni and civic leaders, as well as United Way board members, staff of Huntington National Bank and Medical Mutual -- a United Way Campaign Co-Chair.

“When organizations such as United Way and the Browns and some of our local corporate institutions all come together, great progress can be made and that’s exactly what you saw on Tuesday,” said Harvey.

The Phillis Wheatley Association celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and has served the city of Cleveland through its Camp Mueller program, the Sutphen School of Music and Day Care/Head Start program. The Association has served the elderly, as well as more than 110 children ranging in age from 18 months to 12 years with its preschool and half-day programs during the school year.

Since returning to the National Football League in 1999, the Browns have partnered with the United Way every fall for the annual Hometown Huddle project where the two organizations combine their efforts to build playgrounds and safe recreational spaces for children around the City of Cleveland.

The Hometown Huddle is United Way’s National NFL Day of Caring. Through their partnership with the United Way of Greater Cleveland, the Browns have constructed 14 new playgrounds in Cleveland.

To learn more about Phillis Wheatley Association visit

The Cleveland Browns Hometown Huddle is in association with Cleveland Clinic, and is also part of the Browns Play 60 movement which encourages kids to get 60 minutes of activity a day. The Cleveland Browns Play 60 program is in association with Cleveland Clinic, Medical Mutual and American Dairy Association Mideast and Fuel Up to Play 60.

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